Can you really trust a car insurance quote that you get online?
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The old method of getting car insurance quotes was to call up companies individually, answer dozens of questions, and compare quotes. But that’s no longer the case. Now you can get car insurance quotes online from multiple providers at a time. We’ll tell you how to get quotes and what to do with them once you get them.
To get an online insurance quote, you’ll fill out a form on a provider’s website with your relevant personal information:
Car insurance quotes are estimates of an insurance premium based on information provided. They are not necessarily the exact premium amount you will be offered once you apply for the insurance, as the application process takes more information into account than the details outlined above. However, quotes provide a good ballpark for different providers.
Car insurance is a legal requirement for driving in every state except New Hampshire and Virginia, the two states that don’t require insurance. If you are caught driving without insurance in a state that requires it, you could face the following penalties:
Additionally, if you drive without insurance and get into an at-fault accident, you’ll be responsible for all of your bodily injuries and property damages. Furthermore, depending on which state you’re in, you could be responsible for the other party’s property damages or bodily injuries as well. These costs can easily go into the thousands, so insurance acts as a buffer that protects you from this financial burden.
In at-fault states, the person at fault in an accident is responsible for the other party’s medical payments and property damage losses. In no-fault states, each party pays for their own medical expenses, but the at-fault party is still responsible for all property damage.
When you buy insurance, you’ll need to meet the minimum coverage, which varies by state. Otherwise, you could get in legal trouble for driving without insurance.
You can also opt for full coverage insurance, which includes the following coverages.
While this is not an exhaustive list of all the coverages and services insurance companies offer (think roadside assistance, rental car coverage, and mechanical breakdown insurance), these coverages are the most important.
Of course, car insurance doesn’t cover everything. Here are some of the incidents it will not cover:
Quotes may not take into account all of the discounts an insurance company offers. You could make your premiums even lower by using insurance discounts such as these:
Insurance claims are how you will be compensated for your property damage and bodily injury losses. Once you submit a claim, your insurer will see if it’s covered and may send out an actuary to determine fault. If the claim is covered, you’ll receive compensation.
However, for collision and comprehensive claims, you’ll need to pay your entire deductible amount before you receive any additional compensation. If a claim isn’t covered, you’ll be responsible for your losses out of pocket.
The reason you have to enter in all that information when you request online quotes is because many factors affect car insurance rates.
Each state has different minimum coverage requirements. However, even within states, your ZIP code can dramatically affect your car insurance costs. In general, car insurance costs more in accident-prone, densely packed cities than it does in rural and suburban areas.
Expensive cars are more expensive to repair, and thus, more costly to insure. Some cars are safer than others in terms of crash safety ratings, so safer cars are cheaper to insure. In addition, some cars are more likely to be stolen, resulting in higher auto insurance costs. Here are the most stolen cars in 2020.
|Name of car||Most common year of stolen cars||Number of cars stolen in 2020|
|Ford Full-Size Pickup||2006||44,014|
|Chevrolet Full-Size Pickup||2004||40,968|
|GMC Full-Size Pickup||2005||13,016|
|Dodge Full-Size Pickup||2001||11,9912|
Safety features, such as anti-lock braking, also could lower your premiums.
If you have a long commute, you can expect higher premiums, since more time on the road means more opportunities to get into accidents. However, if you rely mainly on public transportation, you could lower your costs by opting for usage-based insurance (UBI). With UBI, you only pay for the miles you drive.
Usage-based insurance is also known as pay-per-mile insurance. If you’re interested, look into Allstate’s Milewise or Nationwide’s SmartMiles.
More coverage, higher limits, and lower deductibles raise your prices, while fewer coverages, lower limits, and high deductibles lower your prices.
In every state except Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, and Michigan, car insurance companies give higher rates to those with bad credit. Statistically, people with bad credit are more likely to be expensive for insurance providers.
Someone with a spotty driving history full of at-fault accidents, tickets, and/or DUIs in the past five years will pay more for insurance than someone with a clean driving record.
In every state except Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, men pay more for car insurance.
Auto insurance costs are highest for teens and decrease around age 25. As you age, you gain more driving experience, making crashes less likely. See how your rates could change with a company like Progressive below.
|Age||Progressive average yearly rates, September 2020 to August 2021|
|17 and under||$206|
|75 and over||$1013|
While there’s no direct correlation between marital status and crash likelihood, married people are less likely to have claims than single, separated, widowed, or divorced people. Therefore, you might see lower car insurance costs after you get hitched.
Homeowners are less likely to have claims, and therefore pay less for insurance than renters.
As you can see, figuring out how much you should pay for car insurance isn’t an easy process. However, by looking at your state averages below, you can get a ballpark figure. This is the most recent data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, an organization that regulates insurance companies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
|State||Average annual spending on car insurance in 2019|
The state of Louisiana is the most expensive for car insurance, with rates 31 percent higher than the national average. On the flip side, Maine is the cheapest state for car insurance, with rates 54 percent below the national average.
Getting an online quote is just the beginning when you’re shopping for car insurance. Once you’ve found some reasonable quotes, you still need to do your due diligence and research companies further. While you want to save money, of course, you also want trustworthy insurance agents and personalized service.
You’ll want to consider certain questions: How fast does the insurer respond to claims? How can you contact customer service? What are their customer satisfaction ratings with third-party sites like J.D. Power?5
While cost is important, how a company treats its customers also matters. You want to make sure you’ll get your coverage in a timely manner if and when an accident occurs. Choosing the right insurer is important because although you can always switch auto insurance providers, you might lose a continuous insurance discount. To learn more about online quotes and car insurance in general, keep reading our frequently asked questions below.
Across the board, GEICO normally has the cheapest car insurance, with the lowest annual rates falling at $354. However, GEICO might not be the cheapest company for everybody, as each driver’s insurance is based on their personal information and driving history.
Yes, you can purchase auto insurance online from certain companies. However, most companies will require you to call an agent to purchase insurance.
Online car insurance quotes are reliable to an extent. While they can give you a good idea of how much your premiums will be, you can’t know the exact number for sure until you apply.
No, checking car insurance quotes won’t affect your credit score, as it’s a soft inquiry. By contrast, if you apply for a car loan, the potential lender would put a hard inquiry on your credit report, which would hurt your credit score for a certain period.
What are Auto Insurance Policy Exclusions? Simmons and Fletcher.
NICB Releases Annual ‘Hot Wheels’ Report: America’s Top Ten Most Stolen Vehicles. National Insurance Crime Bureau. (2021).
Car insurance for teens. Progressive.
2018/2019 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2022).
Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Stalls Despite $18 Billion in Premium Relief, J.D. Power Finds. J.D Power. (2021).